Holly Frances Stegner passed away on March 25, 2013 in Syracuse, NY. Holly was born on July 30, 1951 in Denver, Colorado to Kent and Frances Whetstine Stegner. Holly was an extremely active and adventurous child. She participated in the Campfire Girls from age 6 through adulthood. She also had a love and natural talent for music and sang in honor choirs throughout school and in high school musicals.
Holly grew up in Colorado and sustained a deep spiritual connection with her home state in her heart throughout her life wherever she traveled. She loved the Colorado mountains in particular, was highly inspired by the natural world, fully committed to living in synch with nature and the environment, and most comfortable in the out-of-doors.
Holly graduated from Greeley West High School in 1969. She then continued on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Recreation and a Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation at the University of Northern Colorado. Throughout her high school and college years, she provided great inspiration and positive influence for many children as she worked in continually expanding leadership positions in the Campfire Girls organization and taught, counseled and ultimately directed several summer camps in Colorado, Oklahoma and Washington. She later accepted a position as a director at a medical facility in Montana assisting with brain-injured patients through therapeutic recreation.
Education and recreation in the out of doors was Holly’s primary focus as she soon accepted a job with the Boulder, Colorado Department of Parks and Recreation. While at Boulder, she became certified as a master gardener. Most of her time was spent in the public works sector which fed into her interest in plants, ecology, landscape design and architecture. She soon decided to pursue a master’s degree in landscape architecture at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Although the degree was not completed, Holly’s instincts and eye for balance and beauty were honed with several years of concentrated graduate work. Throughout her studies and life beyond, she remained true to her strong environmental values.
Holly was a leader in the University of Oregon organic gardening laboratory field experiments. She also was an assistant in the Women’s Center at the University of Oregon and was highly committed to the formation and development of the National Association of Women’s Centers (NAWC), a national organization that provided support and educational materials for collegiate and community women’s centers across the country. In 1994, Holly attended a NAWC conference in Central NYS. She enjoyed the area and in 1995, she decided to move to NY to spend some time in her grandparent’s birth state and join her cousin, Janet in Hamilton.
In her early years in Hamilton, Holly volunteered in several capacities at Colgate and Hamilton in her areas of interest and expertise, and she was always willing to provide assistance for friends with landscaping interests or questions. In recent years, Holly’s health had seriously curtailed her involvement with people and organizations outside her home.
Holly was preceded in death by her mother, Frances in 2002 and her father, Kent in December of 2012. Holly is survived by her sisters, LuAnne Stegner (Lance Mangham) and Sara Smith (Jim), her neice, Amanda Smith, her cousin and close friend, Janet Little, two first cousins in California, and many very close friends throughout the country.
There will be a celebration of Holly's life in June with family and friends in the Colorado mountains. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Holly's memory to your favorite local, state or national park or to Wanderer's Rest Humane Association, 7138 Sutherland Drive, Canastota, NY 13032. Arrangements have been entrusted to Burgess & Tedesco Funeral Home, 25 Broad St., Hamilton, NY. To send a condolence, share a story or sign the Book of Memories online, go to www.burgessandtedescofuneralhomes.com.